I've been training yoga teachers for fifteen years, and I can guarantee one thing. About two thirds of the way through their yoga teacher training, most students have an ‘I’ll never be good enough to teach!’ moment. In fact, I worry about the ones who don’t.
Teaching yoga is a big responsibility – students trust their yoga teachers with their bodies and their minds so it’s no wonder new teachers can feel a little overwhelmed.
Thankfully, with an open heart, deep commitment and a lot of study, most trainees blossom into wonderful teachers. But it doesn’t end there. Everybody's yoga practice is intimately linked with their individual life journey. As you grow and mature, so does your understanding of yoga.
The way you understand asana or Patanjali's Yoga Sutras as a trainee yoga teacher will change as your body matures, your relationships deepen and your teaching develops. I'm astonished each time I re-read TKV Desikachar's classic text The Heart Of Yoga and find a pearl of wisdom that I'm SURE wasn't in the book last time I read it. Of course, the words have always been there, but I wasn't ready to truly understand them.
Becoming a more connected and authentic teacher doesn’t just happen. Sure, you gain a degree of maturity as time goes by, but you don’t have to look too far to see that older doesn’t always mean wiser! It’s the ongoing learning that makes the difference. Yoga teacher training doesn’t stop with a 200hr, or 150hr post-graduate or even a 650hr Yoga Therapist training. You are always a trainee. Ongoing training keeps your mind open, your body responsive and your heart alive to the infinite possibilities that yoga brings.
Every time I’ve felt stuck in a rut as a yoga teacher (and, over 25 yrs of practicing yoga, it happens occasionally!), I’ve gone back to being a student. I’ve sat at the feet of great teachers, cultivated ‘beginners mind’ and reconnected with the still point at the centre of my being from which all wisdom is drawn. And that’s where my teaching journey begins anew. Reconnection with my students through reconnection to myself.
I know that my yoga journey will never end and I am eternally grateful to my teachers for their continued guidance which, in turn, helps me to support my own students. I hope that your yoga journey and learnings from your teachers continue to bring you great joy and abundance too.
Nikola Ellis is the founder of Adore Yoga, yoga therapist, counsellor and teacher trainer. She conducts regular trainings that help people of all ages, shapes and abilities enjoy the benefits of yoga and meditation, including Meditation Facilitator Certificate Trainings; Level 1 200hr Teacher Training and Post Graduate Yoga Teacher Training in Mental Health, Adaptive Asana and the Foundations of Yoga Therapy and a highly regarded professional 650hr Graduate Certificate of Yoga Therapy.